Gardaí have urged greater parental responsibility after emergency medics made reference on Twitter to teenagers having a “drug-fuelled night out” in Clonakilty, Co Cork, “using up valuable emergency services resources”.
The tweet, issued by West Cork Rapid Response, concluded: “Parents, it’s time for that chat with your kids in the morning. All 15 to 17yrs olds so far tonight.”
Another drug fuelled night out in Clonakilty using up valuable emergency service resources . Parents, it’s time for that chat with your kids in the morning. All 15 to 17yrs olds so far tonight...— WCRR (@WestCorkRR) July 7, 2018
Saturday’s tweet follows an incident earlier this year in which Jason Van Der Velde of the voluntary-run emergency service said two teenagers could have died due to extreme alcohol intoxication at a teenage disco in another West Cork town, Bandon.
A teenage disco had been held in Clonakilty on Friday night but gardaí played down talk of any similar scenes, with Inspector Fergal Foley of Clonakilty Garda Station describing the disco as “extremely well-run”, with a doctor, a nurse, and a sick room on-site, with gardaí also likely in attendance.
While there were four incidents involving young people at the weekend, he said none were drug-related, including one case of a person taken to hospital.
Insp Foley said there had been issues in the past with buses carrying people to the venue from Cork City and county and with teenagers getting drunk en route.
“We have inspected and prosecuted a number of bus operators for that behaviour and have convicted them in the courts,” he said.
Insp Foley said no alcohol was now permitted on the buses, with gardaí in towns on the route sporadically checking these rules were adhered to. On arrival, those attending the disco are granted swift access.
However, he said there were still parents who dropped their children into town or groups of children who organise taxis themselves.
“The key issue we have here is a lack of parental supervision and it is us, the disco and the medical staff picking up the tab,” he said.
Insp Foley said it was “not uncommon” that the parents of heavily intoxicated teenagers could not be contacted to deal with their children and they themselves were also out socialising.
“Parents need to step up to the plate,” he added.
Community worker and former town councillor in Clonakilty Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin also called for parental responsibility. He told Patricia Messinger on C103’s Cork Today Show young people arrive in a town “visibly intoxicated or under the influence of some substance”, hanging around local parks “a bit off their tree”.
“I don’t think anyone that organised a coffee morning or gave a cheque for €50 in a donation to West Cork Rapid Response ever envisaged that this was to be a babysitting service for out-of-control teenagers,” said Mr Ó Súilleabháin.
“Their parents don’t seem to be aware or in some cases maybe don’t care where their children are on a Saturday night.”
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